Posted by: nottowayplantation | December 23, 2009

Le Cafe is OPEN for Business!

Nottoway’s Pastry Chef, Brant Palazzo, graduated from St. John High School in 2008. He attended the Louisiana Culinary Institute where he excelled in the art of pastry making. He graduated on December 3 of this month and succeeded in opening Le Cafe at Nottoway. He has made it his goal to introduce Nottoway’s guests to the luxury of the freshest homemade sweets and savory snacks possible.

Le Cafe is tucked away in the heart of the plantation where you can escape to gather your thoughts after a busy day or relax with friends over a cappuccino. Le Cafe is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 2 pm – 5 pm and offers daily specials. Le Cafe serves everything from homemade foccicia breads and sweet potato pie to Italian hot chocolate.

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Posted by: nottowayplantation | December 23, 2009

LA Army National Guard

Louisiana has a strong history with the National Guard beginning during the Civil War when the Washington Artillery of New Orleans was founded. With its iconic emblem of a fierce tiger and cannons and a nick name of the “Louisiana Tigers,” we can attribute the Louisiana State University mascot to the dedicated service of this group.

More recently, our local 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Plaquemine served our country from 2004 -2005 for the Operation Iraqi Freedom III. They were primarily stationed in and around Baghdad, Iraq where they lost 32 brave soldiers to the cause. In 2005 the soldiers had to endure the destruction of their beloved New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina from afar. Many returned home to aid the New Orleans Police Department with the protection of the city. Most of the Brigade remained on duty in New Orleans for almost five months after their return from Iraq assisting with rescue missions, reconstruction, and security purposes.

On May 19, 2008 the Brigade was notified of their return to Iraq for early 2010. Nottoway is proud to support our troops in their valiant efforts and is hosting their deployment ceremony on property this month. We will keep them all in our thoughts and prayers and look forward for their safe return home.

Posted by: nottowayplantation | December 23, 2009

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog



Look familiar? Our beloved “Castle” provided the inspiration to the animators for the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. The film is from the Disney Animated Classics 2D line, the latest since 2004 with Home on the Range. From the makers of the classics Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog is sure to be a holiday favorite.

The movie is a “modern twist on a classic tale” which takes place in a 1920’s New Orleans. Prince Naveen is placed under a spell that turns him into a frog, and the only way to break the spell is to be kissed by a princess. Unsuspecting Princess Tiana believes she is coming to his rescue but is transformed into a frog as well. The two royal frogs travel through the Louisiana Bayous to find the good Voodoo priestess, Mamma Odie, for she holds the key to break the spell.

In cooperation with the New Orleans CVB, Disney hosted a group of American and European journalists to tour the French Quarter and experience outdoor adventures such as swamp and plantation tours. Nottoway hosted the group for a private dinner with Chef David Reyes, an overnight stay and mansion tour. The Princess and the Frog video game is available  now and make sure to catch the movie, it leapt into theatres December 11!

Posted by: nottowayplantation | November 11, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Nottoway Tour Guide

DSCF8242Mrs. Janet Bryant, a local resident of Plaquemine, has been working at Nottoway Plantation for over a decade. She serves as the face of Nottoway and introduces visitors to the grandeur of plantation life and Southern hospitality. From movie stars seeking refuge from photographers to children visiting the “White Castle” for the first time, Mrs. Janet has heard it all! She has kept a diary of her tour experiences and has shared a few recent ones with us. She will continue to share her stories so that everyone can enjoy the experiences of Nottoway guests.  

Tour: 9 AM group – October 30, 2009

A father and son duo from Luxemburg toured Nottoway last week. It was the first time in many, many years that anyone from the small country of Luxemburg (population 450,000) had been to the property. The father said they had planned to come the year of Katrina; unfortunately, they had to change their plans. They were overwhelmed by the large size and beauty of Nottoway. They were the only guests on the 9 am tour so we were able to spend some extra time with them. They were delightful and were a great inspiration for the start of the day!

 Tour: Destination Management / Albatross Tours – November 10, 2009

A group from Denmark leaving New Orleans on their way back home toured Nottoway yesterday. Hanibel, their tour guide, had no idea we were here because he had never heard of Nottoway; however, with his travel research and extra time he decided to see what we were all about.

 About half of the group spoke English, so I gave information to the guide and he translated for the rest. Danish translation is lengthy, for every one sentence I said, Hanibel said four or five more! The group said he was long-winded in his translations. At one point I even raised my hand to get a word in… everyone thought it was hilarious.

Hanibel is an Egyptologist and for many years took groups to Egypt. Then the Danish printed something in their newspaper the Egyptians took as offensive and forbade all Danish tour guides from going into Egypt. The guide then began to take tourists to the Caribbean. In fact, their group had just completed a Mediterranean cruise.

They were a delightful group. It was a pleasure to be their guide. Another wonderful memory for me, and I hope for them also!

Thanks for listening to my stories! I hope you enjoy and I promise to keep you informed about the special people I meet at Nottoway.

– Janet Bryant

Posted by: nottowayplantation | October 28, 2009

Nottoway on “Ghost Lab”

Nottoway Plantation, the South’s largest remaining antebellum home, will be featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab” on November 3, to showcase its unique ghostly spirits.  The show entitled “Murky Water,” which will air at 9 p.m. Central Standard Time, showcases spirits from the past as well as the dramatic, multi-million dollar renovation that has just taken place to restore Nottoway and upgrade the visitor experience.

“Many of our employees have not only heard the rumors but have also sensed things in the halls of this beautiful home,” explained Dale Huval, general manager.  “We’re not surprised that the ‘Ghost Lab’ team wanted to investigate further.  This episode will not only showcase Nottoway’s paranormal activity, but the very ‘alive and well’ renovations that have returned this beauty to her original grandeur.”

“Ghost Lab” has explored more than 70 locations across the United States for paranormal activity and set a new standard in supernatural research.  Using some of the world’s most sophisticated equipment housed in a decked-out traveling “ghost lab,”  brothers Brad and Barry Klinge mobilize this lab to this sprawling relic of the South with deep ties to the Civil War and the trauma of the times.  Legend has it that Nottoway’s original owner still roams the mansion, dressed in black – lore made even more intriguing when Barry says he witnesses the spirit for himself.

Brad and Barry learn that the alleged activity extends to unexplained voices and pictures flying off the walls.  While investigating the third floor bedroom, a purported site of haunted activity, they notice that the raging Mississippi River is clearly visible from window.  A team member takes a photograph that appears to show a ghostly woman’s face in the window.   After ruling out environmental factors like condensation for the image, the Klinge Brothers theorize that the flowing water from the Mississippi is casting off electromagnetic energy toward the house, fueling the spirits inside. 

“The first time we set foot at Nottoway, we knew it had tremendous potential.  The location is beautiful, yet spooky, with an amazing history,” said Ghost Lab Executive Producer Alan LaGarde.  “Once we spoke with the staff about their experiences and also heard the guests’ stories, we were hooked.”

Posted by: nottowayplantation | October 22, 2009

Nottoway’s “Mock Wedding”

Nottoway_plantation18

Monday, October 19, Nottoway joined forces with vendors from around the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette area to produce a high end wedding photo and video shoot to showcase all the amenities each vendor has to offer. Aaron Hogan from Eye Wander Photo (www.eyewanderphoto.com) organized the event with Kali Soulier from Trinity Flowers (www.TrinityFlowersLLC.com) and Nottoway Plantation.  We staged a bridal luncheon in the formal dining room with the bridal party and her relatives.  The bridal preparation for the day’s events took place in the bridal salon and dressing rooms. The ceremony was set between our iris pond and the century old oak trees on the Mississippi River.  Cocktail hour was in the White Ballroom of the mansion, and the reception took place in the Randolph Ballroom.

The flowers were classic white, a mix of roses, hydrangea, and lilies. There was a carpet of petals that stretched the whole aisle. Kali and her partner Emily handmade pommanders for every row of the aisle and hung white lanterns from the oak trees. Kelsey from Something Borrowed (www.somethingborrowedonline.com) provided the beautiful gold table overlays for the reception and the ceremony chair sashes. Contrast Films (www.contrastfilms.net/weddings) shot the entire day using their top of the line equipment. Tina Rodosta from Bridal Beauty Consulting (www.bridalbeautyconsulting.com) was on site for hair and makeup and any touch-ups between shoots. Her team travels to any location to assist the bridal party in getting gorgeous on their special day. The cake was provided by Fairy Dust Cakes (www.fairydustcakes.com). It was a traditional ivory tiered cake with intricate designs on each layer. They specialize in custom designer wedding and grooms cakes. Kay Wilbert of Professional Limousine Service (www.prolimo.com) provided a white stretch limo for the bride and groom to be whisked away after their special day. Squires Formal Wear and Bridal Boutique lent us fabulous gowns and tuxedos for the event. The officiate was Steve Smith. The bride and groom were Libby and Drew Murrell, a couple that Aaron originally shot two years ago. The team was absolutely fabulous and we are sure that everyone involved will be very happy with the photos and video! Keep posted for the pictures and video that we will add soon!

Posted by: nottowayplantation | October 15, 2009

Nottoway at Hollydays

Last night Nottoway participated in the 26th Annual Hollydays Preview Gala hosted by the Baton Rouge Junior League along with hundreds of local sponsors. With over 70,000 square feet of fabulous shopping, 200 merchants, and great food, Hollydays is always a huge success. Hollydays was founded in 1984 with the effort to raise money for charitable organizations. This year the Junior League will donate proceeds for christmas gifts for underprivileged children, wheelchairs for disabled athletes, and to send youth from the Boys and Girls Club to camp…just to name a few. Four million dollars has already been contributed to the cause!   

Hollydays 010 (2)

Nottoway brought a chilled mango soup with melon ceviche and coconut foam. The Sales Team came along to support the restaurant and mingle with the other vendors. It was a huge success! We also launched our new ad campaign for the Mansion Restaurant, Every Castle Needs a Queen, in effort to encourage people to visit the “White Castle” and try the fabulous cuisine in the Mansion Restaurant where we can promise you will be treated like a King or Queen.

Posted by: nottowayplantation | October 9, 2009

Nottoway’s Architectural History

Majestic Nottoway Plantation, with its towering size, hand-carved marble mantles and intricate plaster frieze work, awes visitors with its grandeur and innovative features. The 64-room, three-story palatial mansion is sometimes referred to as an “American castle.”

Nottoway was completed in 1859 for John Hampden Randolph and his wife, Emily Jane Liddell Randolph, and it was home to their eleven children. The mansion boasts 53,000 square feet, and originally sat on 400 acres of highland and 620 acres of swamp. It was designed by renowned architect Henry Howard of New Orleans in Greek Revival and Italianate style.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF NOTTOWAY PLANTATION:

The prestige of John Hampden Randolph’s business successes left him wanting a “more fitting” home and plantation to honor his position and stature. He acquired the land for his future castle in 1855, purchasing 400 acres of highland and 620 acres of swamp. The beautiful property faced the Mississippi River, which was a major transportation waterway of the time. Passing steamboats and showboats made river watching an interesting and exciting pastime.

Randolph also began to compile the materials for his castle. Cypress grown at Forest Home was cut and cured under water for four years. The cypress, then cut into planks and dried, was called virgin cypress. Perhaps its most unique feature was not its durability, but its resistance to termites. Meanwhile, handmade bricks were baked in kilns by the slaves, and the renowned architect Henry Howard of New Orleans was charged with the task of designing the grand mansion.

Randolph made it clear from the outset that no expense would be spared in the construction. In fact, the hiring of Howard was the first of many signs of the opulence to come. Howard, a very popular architect of the time, is considered one of the greatest architects of New Orleans in the 1800s. Many of his Greek Revival and Italianate style buildings, churches and homes can be found throughout New Orleans today.

Construction of Nottoway was completed in 1859 at an estimated $80,000. Nottoway has 64 rooms in its three floors, six interior staircases, three modern bathrooms, 22 massive square columns, 165 doors and 200 windows. Designed in the Greek Revival and Italianate style for which Howard was renowned, it features 15 1/2 foot high ceilings and 11 foot doors. Its most unique room is a semi-circular white ballroom with Corinthian columns and hand-cast archways.

Among the many extravagances of the home are:

  • Ornamental iron railings, capped with molded wooden handrails
  • 12 hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces that used coal for fuel
  • Hand painted Dresden porcelain doorknobs and matching keyhole covers from Germany
  • Hand-carved exquisite and intricate plasterwork throughout the home
  • Brass and crystal chandeliers
  • Fancy chamber pots (flushing toilets) and hot and cold running water in all bathrooms, all unheard of at that time
  • Gas lighting throughout the home, also unique at the time
  • Mahogany stairways carpeted with velvet.
  • A bowling alley installed for the children.

Henry Howard hired skilled craftsmen to work on the house. In fact, 40 carpenters, brick masons and plumbers lived in tents at the site of the construction while doing their work. They were paid $40 a month, and provided with three meals a day and laundry service. By June of 1858, Randolph contracted with Timothy Joyce for $3,800 to provide other carpentry work necessary for the house. A skilled mason, Newton Richards, was hired to furnish two huge flights of granite steps for the front of the home.

White lead was used as a waterproofing agent, set in the joints of the gallery floors that sloped down so that rain and wash water would drain quickly. The ground floor of the mansion is concrete, and the walls, made of brick, are 14 inches thick. Cypress was used as the framing lumber and on the floors and walls of the upper floors. The interior walls are finished in plaster.

Among the most beautiful aspects of the Randolphs’ castle are the extraordinary plaster frieze works on the second and third floors. The frieze work was crafted by Jeremiah Supple, a young, gifted Irishman. Supple, who was paid $1,901 for his work, lined the ceilings with meticulously hand carved molds, using a different design for each room. He also made all eight of Nottoway’s ornate ceiling medallions and friezes in the archways.

A combination of mud, clay, horsehair and Spanish moss was used to make the plaster and enormous amounts of the mixture were used – 4,200 yards of plastering, over 1,500 feet of cornicing, and 140 feet of scroll ornaments in the parlors.

When it was completed Nottoway included a massive entrance hall, the grand white ballroom, a formal dining room, a gentlemen’s study, another dining room, music room, numerous bed chambers, master bedroom, wicker room, bowling alley, library, Hall of their Ancestors, front parlor, sitting rooms, breakfast room, wine room, dairy, laundry and servant rooms, and boys’ wing. The kitchen was located in a separate building adjacent to the house so that a fire in the kitchen would not destroy the main home.

Massive columns three stories high support the immense castle. Its exterior includes spacious balconies from the second and third floors, providing wonderful viewing arenas for the activity on the Mississippi River. Gracious curved granite steps lead to a grand entranceway at the front of Nottoway.

It was this centerpiece that New Orleanan John Nelson used to draft a landscape plan for the property. His plan included 120 fruit and citrus trees, 12 magnolia trees, poplar and live oak trees, 75 rose bushes, 150 strawberry plants and a variety of flower and vegetable gardens. However, most of Nottoway’s beautiful gardens are gone today, since the Mississippi River has taken about six and a half acres of land from the front of Nottoway’s property.

Besides the massive home, Nottoway Plantation included acres of prime farmland, a variety of other buildings including slave quarters, a schoolhouse, greenhouse, stable, steam-powered sugar house, wood cisterns, and other necessary buildings for an agricultural operation. After the family moved into Nottoway, Randolph continued to own Forest Home Plantation, with its additional 1,500 acres of farmland and substantial acreage.

Posted by: nottowayplantation | October 5, 2009

Chef Showcase

This is the recipe prepared by Chef David Reyes at the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday.

Pollo Pagliacci

4 servings

 4          8 oz. chicken breasts (skinless & boneless)

2 c.      Mushrooms – shitake, cremini, portobello – sliced thick

1 ea.     Zucchini and yellow squash – cut into bite size pieces

1          Head of broccoli, small – cut into small florets

1/3 p.   Cherry tomatoes – cut in half

½         Eggplant, small – cut into bite size cubes

2/3 c.   White Wine

2          Garlic cloves – minced or pressed

1          Shallot, small – minced

1 c.      Chicken stock

4 T.      Butter

4 T.      Vegetable oil

2 T.      Italian Parsley, chopped

Juice of ½ a lemon

Flour to dust chicken

Salt and Pepper to taste

 Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and dust with flour.  Shake to remove any excess and set aside.  Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium to high heat.  Cook the chicken breasts until golden (about 3 minutes per side and the meat feels firm when pressed with a finger).  Set aside and keep warm. 

Using the same sauté pan, add the mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant – roast until golden.  Add the broccoli and cherry tomatoes and continue to cook for an additional minute.  Add the garlic, shallot, and 2 T. butter – cook until they release their flavors.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine – let it evaporate.  Add the chicken stock – season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add remaining 2 T. butter and reduce until slightly syrupy.  Add lemon juice.

 Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve immediately.

 Buon Appetito!

Posted by: nottowayplantation | September 26, 2009

The “New” Nottoway

The Mansion Restaurant

The Mansion Restaurant

Nottoway, one of the largest remaining antebellum mansions in the Southern United States, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, and recent additions and renovations to the property promise to keep it an American treasure for decades to come.

Visitors to Nottoway are amazed at the grandeur of the massive plantation-truly an “American castle”- nestled along Louisiana’s Great River Road in White Castle at the heard of Plantation Country. A dramatic multi-million dollar renovation recently was completed to restore Nottoway to her days of gory, as well as to upgrade popular amenities to meet modern-day expectations.

Guided historical tours of the mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and an on-site museum provide a unique glimpse of plantation life. In addition, Nottoway is a full-service historical inn, offering modern accommodations in elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites. Overnight guests can choose the Caretakers’ Quarters overlooking the iris pond, a more spacious layout in the Overseer’s Cottage, or an authentic bedroom in the mansion itself.

 The mansion’s second level Grand White Ballroom has provided a breathtaking backdrop for many weddings. An intriguing outdoor pool accents the bridal suite, and a dressing salon fit for a queen is a new wedding feature, along with an on-site spa.

The Mansion Restaurant, nestled in the historical home, specializes in classic cuisine with a south Louisiana flair and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Le Café offers a variety of coffees, teas, snacks, and pastries. Plus, there is a Business Center and a special venue for weddings, corporate events, and more.

 Nottoway, which is a AAA three Diamond inn offers discounts to member, is located at 31025 Louisiana Highway 1. Guided tours, which are offered from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily on the hour, are $20 for adults and $6 for children under 12. For more details call (866) 527-6884 or (225) 545-2730, or visit online at www.nottoway.com.

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